Update from Presevo, Thursday 8 october

Thousands have arrived in Presevo since yesterday, where it has been raining continuously. The queue to get into the registration centre can take up to eight hours according to our estimates, and registration has slowed for unknown reasons. Confusion, disorientation and fatigue are affecting asylum-seekers, police officers, and volunteers alike. Last night many families slept outdoors under the rain, with only 25 tents on location (capacity of 80 persons), and very limited opportunities for shelter. Resources are in short supply: while many come with raincoats from the border, they are not provided to everyone. Some families, in order avoid exposing children to the elements, send one member – usually a male relative – to the registration centre without realizing that all people must enter in order to be properly registered. This leads to lengthy hours of family separation and delays in completing the registration process for the families. This is in line with other facets of the disorientation asylum-seekers have when arriving in Presevo. Though the organization of the queue has evolved over the last 24 hours, tensions rise and fall between asylum-seekers and police officers throughout the day and night. Blankets, raincoats, and other necessaries are insufficient to respond to the needs of the population, despite UNHCR supplying blankets (when it does not rain) and raincoats (when it does). We estimate roughly 1.000 – 1.200 raincoats are currently available. Trashbags are distributed as a basic alternative. The funds of the volunteers are almost dry and they are calling out for help. There is a need for both financial ressources, and a greater number of volunteers, who today number somewhere between 15 and 20.

Marie & Sarah